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Encomiums As God’s General, Enoch Adeboye Celebrates 81

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By Eric Elezuo

Not a few across religious divide considers Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye as one of the world’s greatest living preachers. Better known as Daddy G.O, Adeboye is the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Worldwide, with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. The respect he has garnered over the years while overseeing Nigeria’s largest church, even before being bestowed with the G.O honours has remained overwhelming and growing.

Humble, soft-spoken and deliberately reachable, Pastor Adeboye as he is simply addressed is celebrating four score and one years on the surface of the earth, and is glorious elated, giving glory to the Almighty God, whose steadfast love, overbearing protection and privileged attention have sustained him this far.

Highly elated and full of heartfelt thanksgiving, the Man of God, who is known for his prophetic entry of My Daddy Says, took to his official social media platform to share beautiful photos with a caption ‘More than 81 reasons to thank God’.

Pastor Adeboye, also known with his cliche of ‘somebody shout alleluia’ became General Overseer of the RCCG in 1981. And for three years, he performed the role part-time before giving up his university position to go into full-time gospel ministration. A position he has used to selflessly affect humanity, and prosper the gospel company. He is also a known philanthropist, who has used his God-given wealth to look after God’s irrespective of creed and leaning. Recall that in 2022 while celebrating his 80th birthday, Adeboye, through his foundation, donated eight dialysis machines to Wuse District Hospital, together with a reverse osmosis medical water purification system and an electrical generator.

Consequently, as a mark of deserved respect, people from all walks of life including President Muhammadu Buhari and President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has been sending in their encomiums to the whose loyal to God and love for fellow human beings have remained a case study.

I REMAIN GRATEFUL FOR YOUR FRIENDLINESS AND WISE COUNSELS – PRESIDENT BUHARI

President Muhammadu Buhari joined leaders and members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in celebrating Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on his 81st birthday.

In a congratulatory message by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari rejoiced with the religious leader, who left his academic career to fully commit to serving the Lord.

The president equally felicitated family, friends and other church leaders within and outside the country, thankful for Mr Adeboye’s positive influence on people and institutions, with a focus on expanding the kingdom of God on earth.

While recalling the visits and prayers, especially when he was ill and recuperating, Mr Buhari said he remained grateful for the friendliness and wise counsels of the general overseer over many years.

The president prayed that the God would continue to bless and guide Mr Adeboye and his family.

YOU ARE AN EXEMPLARY MODEL – PRESIDENT-ELECT TINUBU

President-elect Bola Tinubu also sent a special birthday goodwill message to Pastor Enoch Adeboye. The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, regarded as the largest pentecostal church worldwide, clocked 82 today. The former Lagos State governor’s media adviser, Tunde Rahman issued a statement, praising the influential cleric.

Tinubu noted that Adeboye has been a tremendous blessing to Nigeria, Africa and the world with his ministerial work as a preacher and leader. He recalled their relationship since his time as governor and how the annual Lagos State Thanksgiving Service started then. Tinubu said Adeboye has been “an exemplary model” whose teachings and counsel have continued to moderate and stabilise the country. He wished the clergyman many glorious years in the service of God and the unfailing service to humanity.

Many goodwill messages have also flown from notable preachers, who have been inspired and mentored by Adeboye. Some of them are Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church aka Winners Chapel, Pastor David Ibiyeomie of the Salvation Ministries among others.

Intelregion also recorded the Fans and followers, who lent their voices to celebrate the man of God on his birthday. Some of the are:

@LaraTheLaw said, “Happy birthday GO!!! It’s a big privilege to share the same birthdate with you! Love everything you represent and you have a huge part”.

@fun96678389 said, “Happy birthday Papa Adeboye, thank you for saying ‘yes’ to the calling, and teaching us the word in the most simplified and relatable ways, accompanied by your beautiful stories to make it even more relatable. May you continue to grow in strength and wisdom, and May God groom several of us to eventually follow in your path.”

@jonatdot said, “Happy birthday sir. So much to thank God for on your behalf. Thank you sir for all you have enabled God used you for and still yielding to Him to use you for. More grace to finish strong in the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

@DrTFarombi said, “Happy birthday to you daddy. You have fed and nurtured us with the word of God. You have demonstrated Christianity in such a simple way. Your life has brought nations to Christ. We pray as your days are so shall your strength be. God bless you sir.”

@Graciee48087713 said, “Happy birthday daddy. Thank you so much for yielding to God and for being a voice in our Generation and life.I pray may you never miss your crown of Glory.God bless you DADDY SIR…”

@amoo_lanre said, “Happy Birthday to you Daddy. You shall finish well and strong in the Lord in Jesus name. You shall always be relevant in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Congratulations sir.”

According to Wikipedia, Enoch Adejare Adeboye was born into a very humble family on March 2, 1942 in Ifewara, near Ife, Osun State .

He began his education at Ilesha Grammar School Ilesha Osun State in 1956 before proceeding to the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). But because of the Nigeria Civil War, he completed his first degree in the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1967. That same year, he married Foluke Adenike. They both have four children namely: Adeolu Adeboye, Bolu Adubi (née Adeboye), Dare Adeboye and Leke Adeboye. Dare died in 2021 at the age of 42. In 1969, he obtained a Master’s degree in Hydrodynamics from University of Lagos. In 1975, he obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Lagos.

Adeboye joined the Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1973 and served as an interpreter before he was ordained a pastor in the church by Pa. Josiah Akindayomi in 1975. He became General Overseer of the church in 1981.

The church, which was not well known before Adeboye became the General Overseer, has branches in about 198 nations as at March 2017, including more than 14,000,000 worshipers in Nigeria. The man of God has stated that he aims to put a church within five minutes walking distance in developing cities and five minutes driving distance in developed cities.

He is considered a preacher of the prosperity gospel, a claim he does not deny, saying that “Pentecostals have such an impact because they talk of the here and now, not just the by and by… while we have to worry about heaven, there are some things God could do for us in the here and now.”

Following new legislation that placed limits on non-profit leadership to 20 years of service and less than 70 years of age, Pastor Adeboye resigned as General Overseer in 2017.

An author of repute, Adeboye has written several books, including:

  • Open Heavens Daily Devotional
  • Lessons from the Sower
  • Christian Moderator
  • Deadly Enemy of Man
  • Divine Favour
  • Kingdom Prosperity
  • Fruits of the Spirit
  • God of Wonders
  • God’s Remembrance and Deliverance
  • Prevailing Prayers
  • The Wonder Working God
  • Transitions
  • Mathematics & Greatness

Adeboye has endowed four Nigerian universities, including Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Nigeria. Among accolades trailing him are:

  • 1 of the 50 most powerful people in the world by Newsweek (2008)
  • One of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.

Happy birthday sir, and may many more years of greater favour be your portion!

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Boss Of The Week

Adedeji Adeleke: Celebrating a Cerebral Philanthropist at 66

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By Eric Elezuo

With a net-worth of about 900 million in United States of American dollars, it is not hard to imagine that the erudite scholar and reputed oil and real estate magnate, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, is a force to reckon with in the Nigerian socio-political and economic terrain.

To many, he is the hitherto unknown ‘Baba Olowo’, as represented by his son, David Adeleke, in his hit song, Emi Omo Baba Olowo, to many others, he is just the father of one of Nigeria’s successful musicians, Davido, and to many others, he is the pathfinder that has helped in paving a path of fruitfulness for the Adeleke family in particular, and the people of Osun State in general.

Ebullient and renowned, Dr. Adedeji Tajudeen Adeleke, a native of Ede in Osun State, was born on March 6, 1957 in Enugu State, to Ayoola Raji Adeleke and Esther Nnenna Adeleke. Growing up with his maternal grandmother, fashioned in him the distinct features of Nigerian-ism thus becoming one of the few Nigerians, who are privileged to savour the true Nigerian originality, boasting of two physical ethnicities – Yoruba and Igbo.

Adeleke’s linage is blessed as his siblings are also movers and shakers of the Nigerian political and economic environments. His elder brother, late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, was the first civilian governor of Osun State, and his younger brother, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is the present governor of Osun State.

Fondly called Deji by family members and loved ones, and Chairman by friends and associates, Dr. Adeleke, whose father was a renowned labour leader and activist, in addition to being the Balogun of Ede land and one time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is many things one.

Tapping from the Igbo background of his beloved mother and the Yoruba originality of his father, Dr. Adeleke has overtime showcased qualities that stood him out as a believer in the oneness of the country, Nigeria.

Dr. Adeleke lived his early life in Enugu, where he developed inert abilities to mastering business craftsmanship, before moving to Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Surulere Lagos, for his primary education. Thereafter, he proceeded to Seventh-Day Adventist Grammar School, Ede where he graduated from in 1975, obtaining his West African School Certificate in flying colours.

His brilliance, coupled with opportunities, created a leeway for him thereafter to proceed to Western Kentucky University in the United States of America where he distinguished himself in academics and other endeavours, and graduating with a Bachelors degree in Finance in 1979.

A thoroughbred lover of education, Adeleke followed up his bachelors degree triumph with an MBA in 1981 and thereafter a Ph.D. in International Business from Pacific Columbia University, Mills Valley, California in 1983. It is not an understatement to say the proverbial ‘baba olowo’ is well read.

Having completed the academic trilogy, and with undisputable qualifications, Adeleke returned to serve his fatherland in the capacity of a Corps member in the National Youth Service Corps scheme; a clarion call he obeyed with all his being as a true Nigerian.

Armed and totally ready to take on the world, Adeleke ventured into the entrepreneurial world, audaciously establishing a drilling company, Pacific Drilling Company Limited which soon became the brainchild of other entrepreneurial ventures, metamorphosing into Pacific Holdings Limited, with a distinct focus on finances and investments in different sectors of the Nigerian economy, which comprises other groups of companies with diverse biases, including Pacific Energy Limited.

An egghead of no mean abilities, Adeleke is one of few academics, who holds double doctoral degrees, as he was privileged to bag a second Ph.D from the University of Phoenix, Arizona USA, where he studiously laboured for his honours.

His lofty academic sojourns have in more ways than one paved the way for him to conquer the competitive world of entrepreneurship. He is also the founder and Chairman Board of Directors of Pacific Merchant Bank Ltd which later became one of the legacy banks in the guise of present day Unity Bank Plc.

Quintessential in all ramifications, Dr. Adeleke is a philanthropist of note as his foundations and establishments speak volumes of his worth, and what he is capable of doing. Among his many foundations, dedicated to the upliftment of mankind, is the Springtime Development Foundation (SDF), a not-for-profit NGO, which has become a vehicle for the awards of scholarships at all levels of education, and distribution of medical assistance to diverse medical units across board; locally and internationally to meet the needs of needy Nigerians.

Adeleke’s SDF is also the brain behind the establishment of the prestigious Adeleke University Ede, where he is the Pro-Chancellor. In addition, Dr. Adeleke sits on the board of various blue chip companies across the globe.

Adeleke is known to be not just a father in words, but highly impactful, consciously and unconsciously imparting his children and any other person that crosses his path with his Midas touch of gold.

It has been said that no one comes his way, and leaves without a meaningful impact in his life. With his SDF tool, not a few lives have witnessed a turnaround.

Dr. Adeleke is blessed with four children, two males and two females named Adewale Adeleke, David Adeleke (Davido), Sharon and Ashley Coco, from his beautiful wife, Veronica, who died in 2003, and many grandchildren. His children are living examples of his paternal influence as they all have carved a veritable niche and influence for themselves in differs areas of human endeavours.

His youngest son, Davido, is a world renowned musician and philanthropist, carting away awards after awards in many areas.

He also has numerous grandchildren among whom are Imade Adeleke, Hailey Adeleke and Ifeanyi Adeleke, who are Davido’s children.

Adeleke is a lover of life, and the good things that come with it. As a result, he owns a Bombardier Challenger 605 Business jet and a Bombardier Global Express 6000 for both classic luxury and ease of movement, as an international businessman, who is constantly on the move.

At 66, Adeleke could be described as an accomplished husband, father, nationalist and entrepreneur.

We salute your dexterity and pray for more of wealth and health and many more years of celebrations. Happy birthday a true legend!

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Boss Of The Week

Aliko Dangote: The Consistency of a Billionaire

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By Eric Elezuo

For the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his multifaceted group, playing second fiddle has never been an option. Both the enterprise and the entrepreneur have maintained market leadership to the extent that Dangote himself has appropriated the richest man in Africa status to himself, and has hardworkingly sustained the tag for as long as anyone can remember.

Since 2014, when Forbes magazine named him the world’s 23rd billionaire, jumping 20 spots on the scale from his previous 43rd position among the elite club of the world’s richest people. Aliko Dangote has not looked back, winning back to back the accolade among African billionaires, and never slipping from the world ranking.

Again, as expected, the famous Forbes has proclaimed the soft spoken businessman as Africa’s richest man for the 12th time in a row; a proof that the name Dangote is synonymous with consistency. He is a businessman, who understands that no man rest on his oars if turnovers have to continue to turn over. With marked differentiation, he has demystified the business terrain, and proved that if it can be done, then it must done. His establishment of the humongous fertilizer and sugar plants and the ambitious refinery in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, are testimonies of the trajectory of one who knows his onions.

Worth $13.4 by the latest Forbes ranking, which sustained him as the richest man in African for the 11th time, entrepreneur extraordinaire  has the following points to his name:

  • Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
  • He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
  • Dangote Cement has the capacity to produce 48.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
  • After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in mid-2021.
  • Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

The above and many has remained the factors that have made it easy for the billionaire to remain in the top echelon of world’s money men, and the supremo among African businessmen. Like wonder he is one of the few recipients of the GCON national honours reserved for top politicians of vice president ranking and top government appointees. He has never been any of the above.

In 2021 when his 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum Dangote Fertiliser Plant, sited at the Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, was commissioned. During his speech, at The Fertiliser Complex, which occupies 500 hectares, and built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, Dangote had the following to say in his much sought after humility:

“The commissioning of this Fertiliser Plant is historic. It marks the official opening of the largest Granulated Urea Fertiliser Complex in Africa. The new plant will make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production, with excess capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world. Our products have already reached the markets some African countries, the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico.

“It is an ambitious developmental project, which will drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in this country, through generation of direct and indirect employment. Agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is a leading producer of various agricultural commodities. The sector has the potential of becoming the biggest source of income for our Nation, providing employment and raw materials for industries. However, low fertilizer usage has been a major reason for low productivity in the sector.

Halimat , Zainab & Fatimah Dangote

“It is common knowledge that non-availability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than affordability, is the primary constraint to the use of fertilizer.

“Our goal is to make fertiliser available in sufficient quantities and quality for our teeming farmers assuring greater agricultural output. To help realise this potential, we are rolling out initiatives that will transform the agricultural sector, including extension services for small and medium scale farmers. We have also established well-equipped soil-testing laboratories to ensure that the appropriate fertiliser blends are applied to specific soil and/or crop types. This will boost productivity, enhancing output across the Nation.

“Dangote Fertiliser will partner with key stakeholders in the industry, including Farmer Associations, NPK Blenders, NGO/Development Partners and State Governments across Nigeria, who are committed to a sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields.

“Our continuous efforts to innovate, create value and invest in Nigeria are borne out of our firm belief in the vast economic potential of our dear country. This has also informed our desire to continue with our investment strategy, with a focus on driving import substitution, ensuring that we increase local production to achieve self-sufficiency, and even export excess production.”

He proved that his entrepreneurial skills are not just geared towards uplifting him as a person, but to create an enabling environment for the Nigeria youth and child to grow and development in an environment he can proudly co-own. His vision is practically for the greater good of the world, and Nigeria in particular.

Born in Kano in 1957, Dangote proudly shuttles between three wonderful tags as the richest man in Nigeria; the richest man in Africa and the richest Black man in the world. He has paid his dues, and mankind is the better for it.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation and Impacts

Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Incorporated in 1994, as Dangote Foundation, with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.

The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.

The Foundation works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.

In one of its biggest collaboration to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.

His commitment to the health and wellbeing of the world is second to none, and it is on record that his CSR in the health sector has transcended numerals. The ADF, beyond the health sector, has made landmark achievements in the field of education, where it has affected the development of educational infrastructures of many tertiatiary institutions including Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University Kano; Kano State University of Science & Technology, Wudil and University of Ibadan. The construction of a N1.2 Billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, construction of a N1.2 Billion Dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, construction of Dormitories and provision of power supply to Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State at the cost of N500 Million, construction of Dormitories in Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and construction of Aliko Dangote Complex within the premises of University of Ibadan Business School, Ibadan, Oyo State, are just few examples.

Additionally, the ADF has engaged in Economic Empowerment at various levels through the Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme, which is a N10 Billion national programme, launched in 2011, and designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria.

Worthy of praise is the fact that for the past seven years, the Foundation has spent over N7 Billion in the course of feeding, clothing and the general welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast. Dangote’s efforts at providing relief has drawn a lot of accolades.

Aliko Dangote Foundation was there in 2014 to help the government to contain the Ebola virus outbreak as well as when there ethnic crisis in Ife in 2017.

Rightly addressed as an international philanthropist, Dangote’s interventions are felt across the world. Some of the are building and equipping of Children’s hospital in Abidjan, Grand Heart Foundation – Chad, ONE Campaign, Emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic, Donation of mobile clinics to serve 5 counties in Kenya, Emergency response to victims of earthquake in Nepal, Global Business Coalition for Education, and Sustainable Development Goal – Center for Africa – Rwanda.

More CSRs by the Dangote Group

To make his host communities feel at ease, and the impact of his presence, Dangote has embarked on an initiative to provide further support to improving educational systems in Ibeju-Lekki and Epe locality. The educational support initiative is a tripartite programme consisting of scholarship, capacity building for teachers and school infrastructure projects.

In addition, Scholarships have been awarded to 52 secondary school students whilst some financial support was provided to their parents and/or guardians. Tertiary students will be included in the next batch of the scheme.

Furthermore, about 100 teachers, principals and school administrators were trained in teaching techniques for the 21st century. After which they were monitored in class on how they were using the skills acquired.

Still on education, the company plans to renovate existing structures, building new schools, donating school furniture and equipment etc. This component of the education support initiative is on the verge of taking off.

Already, it has constructed a block of 6 classrooms with restroom facilities and staff rooms. This was handed over at a formal ceremony in December 2020.

Youth development was also an area it took seriously. 400 local youths have been trained in two batches of 200 beneficiaries per batch. They are being trained on acquiring vocational skills such as plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works. First batch of trainees graduated in September 2020 and some of them have been engaged; 2nd batch of trainees will graduate in February 2021.

It also organized programmes to build the capacity of local institutions such as the Community Development Committee (CDC), Project Implementation Committee(PIC), local leaders, youth leaders etc. on various subject areas such as stakeholder engagement, advocacy, networking, conflict resolution and negotiation, presentation skills, influx and impact of influx etc.

There is hardly any sector that has not felt the milk of human kindness running through Aliko Dangote; the military, media, politicians, governments across boards and more.

Dangote is surely an asset to this world!

As at today, there is no space for slowing down for Dangote as he continues to trudge on, creating firsts after first for himself and for humanity. He is blessed with three wonderful daughters, who have followed the rewarding footprints of entrepreneurship.

Fellow billionaire and friend, Femi Otedola, during one Dangote’s birthday’s encapsulated his entrepreneurial prowess as follows: “Happy Birthday to the greatest man that has come out of Africa. My brother, the visionary owner of the 2nd largest sugar refinery in the world, the largest cement factory in the world, the 2nd largest fertiliser plant in the world this is due for completion and the biggest oil refinery in the world. Aliko Dangote, is a titan that God created specially for mankind. You have broken every boundary in worldwide  business and industry. Thanks for the brotherly love”

Dangote is that, and much more!

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Boss Of The Week

Behold the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate: Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya

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By Eric Elezuo

Honour, no doubt, is meant for whomever honour is due. It was therefore, no fluke when the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Mai-Martaba Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, announced the appointment of Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya as the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate. This is one appointment the general public has seen as who the cap fits.

The Emir made the announcement at the 57th Annual National Conference of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) held on Sunday where notable sons and daughters of the Kwara State and friends and well wishers were in attendance. At the occasion, the ebullient Hajia Bola Shagaya donated whopping N10m in support of the IEDPU project.

Among the dignitaries that graced the event were the Emir of Ilorin Dr. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Shuaib Belgore; Ilorin Emirate Council of Chiefs; Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Soliu; and other Imams and Islamic scholars; Grand Mufti of Ilorin Sheikh Suleiman Faruq Onikijipa; Turakin Ilorin Mallam Saliu Mustapha; National President for IEDPU, Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman; Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is-haq Oloyede; Vice Chancellor University of Abuja, Prof Abdulrosheed Na’Allah; businesswoman and Zaraniya Ilorin Hajia Muina Sagaya; former Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem; Executive Director for National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) Engr. A. R Kamal; guest speaker Sheikh Abdulwahab Banni Afonta; and dozens of dignitaries and sons and daughters of Ilorin Emirate.

Bola, as she is popularly known, is beautiful, elegant, famous, enchanting and above all down to earth. She is a woman of means and is renowned for her extraordinary generosity. She is above all, quintessential in all ramifications.

Shagaya, unlike most prominent and wealthy industrialists, was not born with the proverbial silver spoon. Consequently, she had to pull herself up by her bootstraps and exert herself relentlessly through some difficult times on her way to arriving at the enviable height she now occupies. Her remarkable accomplishments have since earned her a pride of place at the table of royals and captured the attention of the influential Forbes magazine. She made the 10th wealthiest woman spot in Africa in a 2015 Forbes ranking.

The socialite, who will be 62 on October 10, was born in 1959 in Kwara State, her home town. She attended Queens School in Ilorin for her secondary education and the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and Armstrong College in California, where she studied Economics and Accountancy respectively. Shagaya also attended Harvard Business School and a number of other local and international seminars, workshops and symposiums where she sharpened her skills and gained all the cutting-edge knowledge that has kept her on top of her entrepreneurial and social game.

Fresh out of school, a promising career took off with a stint at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where she worked with the Audit Department. Having acquired veritable experience from the CBN, she ventured into commercial activities in 1983, beginning with the importation and distribution of photographic materials under one of her incorporated companies called Bolmus. She is reputed to have introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.

She is also the owner of Fotofair Nigeria limited, and her photo laboratory unit in Victoria Island is no doubt one of the largest photo laboratories in Nigeria. The photo laboratory has a net base of over thirty branches located in different parts of the country and over 300 workers employed. A great feat!

Her prowess is not limited to the business of photographic materials alone, Hajia Bola Shagaya is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, serving local lubricant blending plants. Not only that, her extensive acumen in the world of buying and selling finds expression in huge investments in real estate, spanning major cities in the country with over 300 employees.

She is proactive and visionary, and so through her base oil importation, she is meeting the need of the local lubricant blending plants. At the moment, Practoil is building its own plant at Kirikiri, Lagos State. The plant is expected to produce multi-grade oils and lubricants.

An astute financial wizard, Mrs. Shagaya is on the board of Unity Bank (Nigeria) Plc (formerly Intercity Bank) and has been for about a decade. She is also a member of the NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria.

She is a reputed fashionista, and her consistent display of an impeccable dress sense is a testimony to that assertion. It is therefore, not surprising that she is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and a fashion and arts enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and arts industry. She also loves sports, especially polo. She is also hopelessly in love with exotic jewelry, especially diamonds, and Deola Sagoe, Folake Coker, Maureen Onigbanjo, Abba Folawiyo are just a few of her clothiers. Internationally, there are also Escada and Christian Lacroix.

In July 2010, she was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR).

A committed family woman; wife and mother, she is married to Alhaji Ganiyu Shagaya, a Kwara State-based transporter and their union is blessed with four children, among whom is Sheriff Shagaya, who got married in 2013 to Maryam Tukur, the daughter renowned politician, Bamanga Tukur. Kabir, her fourth son, also married into a notable when he wedded Amina Buba, daughter of oil magnate, Dr Hanatu Buba Each of her five sons are reportedly doing incredibly well in their fields of endeavours. It is said that they inherited their mothers entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and accommodating mien.

A very liberal woman, her third child, Seun, is a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Abuja in as much as his mother is a Muslim.

Though a socialite who loves reveling, Mrs. Shagaya knows when to open the door and when to keep it closed. It was gathered from an interview she once granted that as a rule she doesn’t entertain friendly visitations, no matter how close, between Monday and Friday. Consequently, everything social revolves around the weekends when major work has been done. That accounts for her serious-mindedness, focus and hard work.

A friend of several Nigerian First Ladies, Mrs. Shagaya is known to have been close to virtually every recent First Lady in the Nigerian political system, especially Dame Patience Jonathan, with whom she forged a formidable relationship. It is believed that her amiable nature, down to earth attitude and uprightness always endear her to the hearts of those in the corridor of power.

A staunch Muslim, she believes that no matter what one becomes, God will always remain number one, and the revolving factor in her life. As a result, no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she makes it a duty to go to Mecca at least twice a year. She also creates time to observe her ‘Majrib’.

“That’s my only way to praise God”, she said.

The stupendously rich amazon, who owns property in choice parts of the world including London, Abuja, Lagos, Ilorin and so on, maintains a healthy routine of going to bed every day at 9pm after listening to the 8 O’clock news, and wakes up daily by 5am to pray.

Bola Shagaya is a crown jewel in the swelling ranks of African women who have demystified the stereotyped notion that the place of the woman is, and ends in the kitchen or ‘the other room’. In her continued display of business ingenuity, she has showcased the stuff women like her are made of while proving that females are capable of threading the paths that even some men would not dare venture.

Congratulations dear Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate!

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